Southern States Tour – Day 63

Day 63 Route
Day 63 Route

The day was sunny and dry, with temperatures starting out in the low 60’s with highs in the 70’s. Winds were occasionally gusty but generally mild.

Day’s distance: 335 miles

Total trip distance: 11,972 miles

It was another 10am start by the time I was out of the motel and done with my Starbucks latte. Initially, I would cross the Snake River Plateau.

Riding through the  Snake River Plateau on Hwy 20
Riding through the Snake River Plateau on Hwy 20

There were quite a few energy labs behind guarded gates located along Hwy 20. It reminded me of when I was in the Navy at Nuclear Power School. At the time, there were two prototype training sites – Idaho National Labs and upstate New York. When I stopped at a rest area, the sign below confirmed the prototype training center was in this area.

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(click to enlarge)

When I reached Arco, to my surprise I saw a roadside exhibit about the nuclear power development that took place in the area. The sail of the submarine USS Hawkbill (the ‘Devil Boat’ because of its designation USS 666).

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The museum curator has been involved in the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program since graduating college in 1957 (if I remember correctly).

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Arco was the first town powered by atomic energy on July 17, 1955, a byproduct of the research being performed and makes for good press within the community, I’m sure.

The history of this area had an unexpected connection to my past, despite never having been here, that made me very happy. It’s a small world 🙂

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My next quick stop was Craters of the Moon National Monument. This is a volcanic fissure that was active about 2,000 years ago.

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There was a short loop to drive around and optionally stop and walk up the pathways.

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Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
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Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

The rest of today’s riding was about exploring the roads inside the Sawtooth Mountain Range. According to my Butler Motorcycle Map, these would be scenic and fun. They did not disappoint, either. The elevation changes, sweepers and non-technical turns, and steep dropoffs sometimes without guardrails were worth the travel.

The road surfaces were generally in very good shape with some exceptions, where winter damage was evident but either repaired or not too rough.

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I kept running into three guys on motorcycles throughout the day. We first passed while they were at Craters of the Moon, then in Stanley, then on the mountains west of Stanley, where we finally talked about our trips.

Saskatchewan residents Eric, Paul and Mike.
Saskatchewan residents Eric, Paul and Mike.

As it was starting to get late, I focused on getting off the mountain and to my motel in Boise. I’ll likely camp tomorrow night so this may be the last motel stop for the trip. 🙂

Tomorrow I’m hoping to stay at the Hell’s Canyon State Park in Lewiston. I stayed there last summer during my 2014 Trip to Glacier.

2 thoughts

  1. I’ve had to do a lot of catching up on your trip posts this morning. This last week has been hectic, to say the least. My dad’s (Paul) mom got sick weekend before last with Pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. With that and her COPD, she passed away last Tuesday. He’s been following your journies too, when he can.

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